information and tips on Algeria including passport information,
accommodations, transportation to and in Algeria, attractions and things to
see and do, restaurant suggestions, tours, and much more.
Quick Overview on Algeria
Algeria, the second-largest country in Africa, extends from the Mediterranean coast deep into the hot Sahara.
The Atlas Mountains separate the country into two contrasting areas with the area to the north of the mountains, the coastal area
that includes the city of Algiers, being more popular with tourists than the much hotter Sahara which occupies more than four-fifths
of the country. The Mediterranean beaches are about the most popular place for tourists to gather. However, the Casbah and
the Court of the Great Mosque in Algiers are also very popular. There are several resorts in the Atlas Mountains and tours are
offered into the Sahara.
Click on In Depth Overview of Algeria for more complete information.
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Cities, Towns and Areas of Algeria
Algiers is the capital city of Algeria. Known as Alger in French and Al Djazair in Arabic it is located on the Mediterranean Coast with a skyline that is dominated by two shapes: the Martyrs Monument (Makam ech-Chahid) in the south and in the city center, the box-like shape of the Hotel Aurassi.
The Medina is the commercial and business center and just about everything in the city is either right there or close by. Nothing is far from the main street Rue Larbi ben M�Hidi, a tree lined pedestrian precinct running out of the Place Grand Post, a major square. The new Grand Mosque in Algiers (currently being built) will be the third largest mosque in the world and able to accommodate a staggering number of some 120 thousand worshipers
Although Algiers was one of Arabia's most beautiful cities, Algiers was never the same after the many years of colonial abuse. Today, Algiers is basically little more than just another modern port town. Most visitors here normally just stay long enough to arrange transport to Tamanrasset and other parts of Algeria, Africa or Europe. Although it is generally safe in Algiers, it is unfortunate that the most interesting parts of the city are found in the kasbah or medina district. And, as this has been pretty much off-limits to foreigners since the start of the troubles in the country, few get to see it. You are safest inside of the ring road as it seems the police are everywhere inside the ring road. Click here for hotel suggestions for Algiers.
The eastern port city of Annaba is the third largest city in Algeria and an important industrial and shipping center. Just like Algiers, Annaba is a refuge for those with a need for European atmosphere during their stay in Algeria. The green main street, now wisely called Cours de la R�volution has a vibrant afternoon and early evening life. And the horizon to the south is strongly dominated by the picturesque basilica of St. Augustine.
The choice of the French colonialists to erect a church to Augustine can seem odd in this Muslim country, but it is not. Augustine acted as a bishop from 396 to 430 just here. For his Hippo Regius is present Annaba. Augustine, perhaps not the great thinker that somebody claims, is among those giving shape and content to the learning of the Catholic church.
A center of Algeria's recently-developed petrochemical industry, Bijaya is an important regional town located on the sea at the base of Gouraya mountain.
Actually a cluster of five towns in the river valley of the Oued M'Zab - Gharda�a, Melika, Beni Isguen, Bou Noura and El-Ateuf. The area is home to a very conservative Muslim sect called the Mozabites, which broke from mainstream Islam some 900 years ago. It is well known for its famous carpets and the daily souq in the old town. Beni Isguen, the religious fulcrum of the valley, is worth visiting. It is located about 2 miles from central Gharda�a. Foreigners are not allowed to enter without a guide, and never on a Fridays. It is forbidden to wear shorts, take photos or smoke in this area.
Cosmopolitan Oran is Algeria's second largest city and one of the country's busiest ports. It is also a major trading and industrial center. Oran has since long times been known for being liberal and easygoing. Much of Oran's success in modern times, must be credited the French. When they arrived here in 1831, there were no more than 4,000 people living in the city. Much of the structure of the city was formed by French and Spanish settlers. Oran is today very much back to its old splendour, and being the second-largest city of Algeria, it is an industrial, cultural and educational centre.
There is a lot to see and do around Oran, even if the city is far away from any form of tourist tracks. The Great Mosque, is built in 1796, as a celebration of the liberation from the Spanish. Visitors can enter the mosque and the minaret. The Marabout Sidi Mohammed El Haouri from 1793 is well worth the visit, representing Andalusian architecture. The Demaegth Museum is a good museum, well endowed with exhibitions covering thousands of years. Of European-built buildings, the Chateau Neuf from the Spanish, was before the civil strife started, begun to be rebuilt into a hotel. Cathedral de Sacr� Coeur is now turned into a public library, and can be entered and explored for free. With Oran's size, no one should be surprised that the beaches near the centre is not extremely good. If you set out from town, however, first class beaches are easy to find.
Constantine, one of Algeria's principal cities, is spectacularly set upon a stone mountain overlooking the spectacular Rhumel Gorge which is spanned by four bridges. Constantine is a city with strong Islamic traditions. The people of eastern Algeria must have felt unsafe when they made Constantine (Cirta Regia then) into the largest city of their region. Constantine can be found on the top of a gorge protecting the city on almost all sides. As so many other places in North Africa, the fortress and the city has been one and the same, with quite a bit of help from nature. The sights of today are spectacular, especially since this is a fairly big city.
The gorge cutting the edges of Constantine, can be crossed by one out of four bridges, like Pont Sidi M'Cid. The gorge serves to a large extent as a dustbin, and is heavily polluted by oil as well. Although there is not a lot to see in the city, it still seems to somehow remain popular and the locals are very friendly and seem to enjoy the good life. So forget all about finding landmarks, and enjoy people here. That is, when the political situation has changed in Algeria.
S�tif: S�tif has existed since Roman times and is located at an elevation of 1,100m. Of no apparent reason a huge amusement park has been put up here in this medium sized town. And it's right in the middle of it, too. The park, one block away from the main street is filling up half of the centre of Setif, and a lot of the local's attention and activities are connected to it. The whole construction is quite well-kept, and offers many kinds of amusements for the children, an artificial lake, fountains and a small zoo. Right west of the park lie the ruins of a Byzantine fortress, and to the east an acceptable archeological museum.
Things to See and Do in Algeria
Algeria has a wide range of features that would be of interest to
tourists. These include cultural centers, museums, and
memorials filled with historical backgrounds and items of
interest. A small seaside village, Bou Ismail, is a favorite
of visitors who enjoy a great fishing experience. And, for the
water sports lovers, Alger-Plage beach (Algiers- Beach) gives you an
opportunity for sailing and boating. A visit to Tipaza and
Berard villages provides a wealth of insights into the fascinating
Algerian history, from the Phoenicians to Roman times. In the
northern part of Algiers, (Kasbah), Stand Ketchaoua (a restored
ottoman mosque) and Bitchin mosque with a museum of traditional
arts, all offer interesting sights to explore and marvel at.
Algiers, the capital city of Algeria, has never been knows as an exciting place to visit. But, the name alone conjures up interesting thoughts. The Medina is of course one place to visit with the markets and buildings of French origin and some magnificent Turkish palaces. Check the area near the Ketchaoua Mosque on Rue Hadj Omar. The Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions is also worth a visit. For a good view of the city head out of the city center to Martyrs' Monument.
ArabNet - A Tour Guide For Algeria